Relief from Night Time Leg Cramps

Here’s a recent request from one of my beloved Be Wise Health Wise newsletter readers:

“Do you think you might include an article on the latest info. on nighttime leg cramping? All my friends suffer from this and nobody seems to know what to do about it. Some of the remedies would crack you up! I guess it’s just the “aging generation” – we boomers want to do what’s right for our bodies and now everybody wants to sell us stuff. More junk out there than you can shake a stick at!”


That’s a great question! Of course the answer can be different for different people. Let’s start from the most serious condition and then go from there.

Hardening of the arteries can certainly cause leg cramps because of a lack of oxygenation to the muscles. If a person develops leg cramps while walking then certainly a physician should evaluate the condition of their circulatory system.

Of course these circulation problems may manifest as night leg cramps also. So be sure you’ve ruled out circulation problems and then consider these more common causes of night leg cramps.

First let’s take a look at the macro mineral balance in the body. The macro minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean and many other holistic practitioners, magnesium deficiency at the tissue level is one of the most common deficiencies in the United States. Unfortunately, most physicians do not recognize the cell deficiency of magnesium because blood magnesium levels tend to stay normal even when the cells are starving for magnesium.

For you see the body gives great priority to the blood levels of nutrients to protect the vital organs. Therefore the body metabolic processes will rob magnesium or other nutrients from the tissues to keep the blood levels normal. Therefore low blood levels of magnesium appear only when the tissues have become severely depleted of magnesium.

A company called Spectracell tests for the level of magnesium and other minerals inside the cells. It’s a very simple test. Just use the kit that Spectracell provides to scrape the inside of the cheek, spread it on a slide and send it to Spectracell. Then they do the analysis.

If you do not have access to this type of testing then consider taking a trial of extra magnesium as a supplement. The dose needed to correct a magnesium deficiency varies from person to person. So start with one or two magnesium tablets or capsules a day and then gradually increase them.

Your gastrointestinal tract limits the amount of magnesium you can take per day. When you hit that limit you start having diarrhea so you have to cut back on your magnesium dose.

You can overcome the diarrhea problem by selecting a different form of magnesium as indicated in the chart below:

Forms of magnesium

  • Magnesium salts – oxide, sulfate, chloride, pidolate
  •      Poorly absorbed in ileum and colon
  •      Can cause diarrhea  as dose increases
  • Magnesium organic acid chelates – citrate, gluconate
  •       Good absorption in ileum and colon
  •      Can cause diarrhea  as dose increases
  • Magnesium amino acid chelates – glycinate, lysinate
  •      Good absorption in ileum and colon
  •      Well tolerated
  •      Can push to over 500 mg/day without causing diarrhea

For a wealth of information on magnesium review Dr. Carolyn Dean’s web site.

Magnesium is a good place to start when considering leg cramps but there’s a whole list of other nutrients that may be important in calming that grip that wakes you out of a dead sleep. We’ll cover those nutrients in part two of Night Time Leg Cramps and part three will follow.


Dr. Jo


About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

Similar Posts

3 Comments On “Relief from Night Time Leg Cramps”



16 November 2011

Hi, I have a piece of advice on what to do when your leg starts to cramp- just pull your toes towards you to tighten your calf, trust me. This really helps!



6 December 2011

My Mom used to get leg cramps all the time. She kept quinine water handy. Just drink the quinine water, and it relieves them almost immediately.

Dr Jo

Dr Jo

19 December 2011

Hi Vickie,

I remember my grandmother taking quinine for leg cramps too. According to the Internet search quinine is not available anymore.

Thanks for the observation.
Dr. Jo

Post a Comment